If you stay [in an emotionally abusive relationship], the abuser may never fully realize that they are harming you. Staying lets them know that their behavior must not be so bad after all because you continue to stick around. Narcissists often, only learn through accountability. Without accountability, they continue their bad behavior.
When you stay in an abusive relationship, most abusers are not compelled to heal or work on themselves. Only when they lose that which they are so desperately (and often successfully) trying to control do they finally realize that perhaps their actions are not healthy. Even then, not all abusers will believe they need healing.
Remember, when you leave an abusive relationship, you give both of you a gift.
How to Get Out of an Abusive Relationship
Why doesn’t she just leave? It’s the question many people ask when they learn that a woman is suffering battery and abuse. But if you are in an abusive relationship, you know that it’s not that simple. Ending a significant relationship is never easy. It’s even harder when you’ve been isolated from your family and friends, psychologically beaten down, financially controlled, and physically threatened.
If you’re trying to decide whether to stay or leave, you may be feeling confused, uncertain, frightened, and torn. Maybe you’re still hoping that your situation will change or you’re afraid of how your partner will react if he discovers that you’re trying to leave. One moment, you may desperately want to get away, and the next, you may want to hang on to the relationship. Maybe you even blame yourself for the abuse or feel weak and embarrassed because you’ve stuck around in spite of it. Don’t be trapped by confusion, guilt, or self-blame. The only thing that matters is your safety.
Read the entire article for tips and warnings on how to safely get out of an abusive relationship.
- Accept that the abuse isn’t your responsibility. Don’t try to reason with your abuser. You may want to help, but it’s unlikely they’ll break this pattern of behavior without professional counseling. That’s their responsibility.
- Disengage and set personal boundaries. Decide that you won’t respond to abuse or get sucked into arguments. Stick to it. Limit exposure to the abuser as much as you can.
- Exit the relationship or circumstance. If possible, cut all ties. Make it clear that it’s over and don’t look back. You might also want to find a therapist who can show you a healthy way to move forward.
- Give yourself time to heal. Reach out to supportive friends and family members. If you’re in school, talk to a teacher or guidance counselor. If you think it will help, find a therapist who can help you in your recovery.
Some Resources for Healing:
- What It's Like to Grieve an Abusive Relationship
- Here's what happens when you break up with a narcissist
- When abusive relationships end: a complex grief
- Do You Sabotage Yourself With the Grey Rock Method?
- 10 Steps to Recovering from a Toxic Trauma Bond
What makes covert narcissists so confusing is nothing they’re doing on the outside seems that bad, but your body feels it. When you’re in conversations with them, you feel jumbled inside, you feel confused, you feel belittled, but they’re not yelling at you, they’re not putting you down, but you’re feeling small.
And that’s why listening to your body is so important, because your body knows that you’re not emotionally safe with this person. It knows that this is not love, this is not about you, they’re trying to get something from you.
How does your body react when you’re around them? Do you feel completely free to be yourself? Do you feel loved? It’s not about the words they’re saying cause they’ll be saying nice things to you, and about your body, and the different things you’re doing, but how do you feel?
by By Sherri Gordon
The first step in dealing with an emotionally abusive relationship is to recognize that it is happening. If you were able to identify any aspect of emotional abuse in your relationship, it is important to acknowledge that first and foremost. By being honest about what you are experiencing, you can begin to take control of your life again. Here are seven more strategies for reclaiming your life that you can put into practice today.
Make your mental and physical health a priority. Stop worrying about pleasing the person abusing you. Take care of your needs. Do something that will help you think positive and affirm who you are. Also, be sure to get an appropriate amount of rest and eat healthy meals. These simple self-care steps can go a long way in helping you deal with the day-to-day stresses of emotional abuse.
Establish boundaries with the abuser. Firmly tell the abusive person that they may no longer yell at you, call you names, insult you, be rude to you, and so on. Then, tell them what will happen if they choose to engage in this behavior. For instance, tell them that if they call you names or insult you, the conversation will be over and you will leave the room. The key is to follow through on your boundaries. Do not communicate boundaries that you have no intention of keeping.
Stop blaming yourself. If you have been in an emotionally abusive relationship for any amount of time, you may believe that there is something severely wrong with you. Why else would someone who says they love you act like this, right? But you are not the problem. Abuse is a choice. So stop blaming yourself for something you have no control over.
Realize that you cannot "fix" the abusive person. Despite your best efforts, you will never be able to change an emotionally abusive person by doing something different or by being different. An abusive person makes a choice to behave abusively. Remind yourself that you cannot control their actions and that you are not to blame for their choices. The only thing you can fix or control is your response.
Do not engage with an abusive person. In other words, if an abuser tries to start an argument with you, begins insulting you, demands things from you or rages with jealousy, do not try to make explanations, soothe their feelings or make apologies for things you did not do. Simply walk away from the situation if you can. Engaging with an abuser only sets you up for more abuse and heartache. No matter how hard you try, you will not be able to make things right in their eyes.
Build a support network. Stop being silent about the abuse you are experiencing. Talk to a trusted friend, family member or even a counselor about what you are experiencing. Take time away from the abusive person as much as possible and spend time with people who love and support you. This network of healthy friends and confidantes will help you feel less lonely and isolated. They also can speak truth into your life and help you put things into perspective.
Work on an exit plan. If your partner, friend, or family member has no intention of changing or working on their poor choices, you will not be able to remain in the abusive relationship forever. It will eventually take a toll on you both mentally and physically. Depending on your situation, you may need to take steps to end the relationship. Each situation is different. So it is best to discuss your thoughts and ideas with a trusted friend, family member or counselor.
See full article at: https://www.verywellmind.com/identify-and-cope-with-emotional-abuse-4156673
Why We Establish No Contact in the Context of Abusive Relationships
We establish No Contact for a number of reasons, including preserving a healthy mind and spirit after the ending of a toxic, unhealthy or abusive relationship or friendship. No Contact gives trauma bonds, bonds which are created during intense emotional experiences, time to heal from abusive relationships. If we remain in constant contact with the toxic person, we will only reinvigorate these trauma bonds and form new ones. No Contact also gives us time to grieve and heal from the ending of an unhealthy relationship or friendship without reentering it.
Most of all, we establish No Contact so that toxic people like malignant narcissists can’t use hoovering or post-breakup triangulation techniques to win us back over. By establishing No Contact, we essentially remove ourselves from being a source of supply in what is clearly a non-reciprocal, dysfunctional relationship.
The first step in recovering from Narcissistic abuse is going No Contact. Yet, many people get stuck in this stage. Whether it’s due to a need for closure, crippling self-esteem issues, a need for revenge, or the inability to let go, allowing your Ex to contact you (or you contacting your EX) will keep you in an endless cycle of misery and pain. The following article gives some excellent advice: https://kimsaeed.com/2013/12/11/the-no-contact-7-day-challenge-quitting-your-narcissist/
- Blocking your ex's phone number, email, access to all your social networking sites, changing your cell phone number, not answering the door if they come over, and more
The following article by Kim Seed gives a great overview of what 'no contact' should look like an what it shouldn't look like: https://kimsaeed.com/2014/03/31/why-wont-the-narcissist-psychopath-leave-me-alone/
Boundaries Are Crucial!
From going NO CONTACT to GREY ROCK (described below), boundaries will allow you to separate from your abuser and start the healing process. By establishing healthy boundaries, you will also be able ensure that your relationships going forward are healthy .
The following 3-part video series explains the importance of setting healthy boundaries in relationships.
Go “Grey Rock”
Kirsten Marsh, a domestic abuse survivor and an advocate in Airdrie, Alta., strongly believes that going “no contact” with an abuser is best for healing as it gives survivors a chance to break the confusing trauma bond (the psychological mechanism that helps human beings endure abuse) with their abusers. When no contact isn’t possible, the second-best strategy is to go “grey rock”—that is, be as dull as possible by communicating only very necessary information about the children. She suggests using a parenting app (such as TalkingParents and Our Family Wizard) instead of emails, texts, phone calls and shared calendars.
It can be tough to create boundaries with an abuser, so Coates suggests slowing down your response time. Give yourself a longer period of time to craft a response (say, 24 hours) and think carefully about what requires a response. If you don’t respond immediately or with emotion, the abuser will find the abuse less satisfying and may even stop sending abusive messages.
"Going “no contact” with an abuser is best for healing as it gives survivors a chance to break the confusing trauma bond (the psychological mechanism that helps human beings endure abuse) with their abusers. When no contact isn’t possible, the second-best strategy is to go “grey rock”—that is, be as dull as possible by communicating only very necessary information about the children. "
- The best method of dealing with toxic people in your life is to go no contact, and block them from all platforms.
- But sometimes this isn't possible, like if you work with them, co-parent with them, or they are one of your parents.
- In these cases, "gray rocking" is the next best thing, which is a boundary setting technique that allows the target of psychological abuse to remain grounded.
- Essentially, it is a way of becoming as dull and unremarkable as a gray rock to the abuser, ignoring any attempts at baiting.
- "Psychological abusers crave chaos," said trauma therapist Shannon Thomas. "The gray rock technique removes drama from the interaction, with the hope the toxic person will look elsewhere for their drug-like addiction to creating tension for their entertainment."
Resources on Parallel Parenting
Experts on narcissistic abuse recovery all agree that contact with someone like this always results in pain (Payson). Maintaining zero contact is essential for you to be able to heal and cognitively and emotionally process the mental hurricane that hit. Some clients have likened the experience to like coming off a drug; it is so painful to go through the traumatic grief work in being abandoned that these feelings are akin to withdrawals. However, as you heal, you can be empowered, stronger, wiser, and more discerning and reclaiming of your own self-worth.
10 Survivors Reveal What It’s Like Co-Parenting With A Narcissist – And How They Thrived Against All Odds
They just don’t get that being a parent is putting your child’s needs first – not their own.
Tips: Don’t be afraid to disagree with them. Don’t let them try to sway your decisions. They will manipulate you to get their own way every time. Be on the ball and have your guard up when dealing with them face to face.
Make clear boundaries and make sure they respect them by following through with those boundaries. They will try to get you to drop your guard, it’s like they can sense when we are vulnerable or feeling down, and this is when they are most likely to strike and throw something out of left field. You might then find yourself agreeing to it even though you don’t want to.
If they cross your boundaries, call them out on it. The more you let slide the more they feel they can get away with. They live for control – don’t let them have it!
Make conversations strictly about the children. Don’t talk about anything other than them. Be boring. Be emotionless. Give them nothing to feed off. They will get bored of this very quickly.
Only communicate via email or a parenting portal. Sites such as Talking Parents are admissible in court and have read receipts, which prevent your ex from claiming that s/he “didn’t get the message.” Block him/her on social media, increase your privacy settings, and do not text. Establish a set of rules for yourself: How often you will check the messages and how long you will wait to respond? Do not give in to triangulation. Make rules for when you will answer calls to the child.
07/09/2017 01:52 pm ET Updated Jul 09, 2017
Noun- A person suffering from chronic mental disorder with abnormal or violent social behaviors
Noun- A person who has an excessive interest in or admiration of themselves
These two types of ex tend to be by far the worst kind of people, you can both be married to and therefor divorce from, as their lack of empathy and obsessive need to win and inflict pain on others, seems in many cases to have no end.
Almost unanimously when I hear of people taking their exes to court over and over, or divorces that drag out for years even decades, I already in my mind have a presumption that there is a good chance that these cases involve a person with one of these disorders.
Besides the obvious facts that divorce from these people are often, more dismal, and highly contentious, they are often harder to move on and recover from, here are a few of my tips on moving on from a psychopath or narcissistic ex.
1. Realize that in most cases, you would have been targeted by your ex for your giving or passive nature, generally a psychopath or narcissist are looking for the givers of the world to feed off, as emotional vampires do. You will have often been young, naive or have the persona that you want to believe the best in people, these traits in you are on the surface great traits, but to a narcissist or psychopath they make you the perfect prey. Forgive yourself for the lack of judgment in marrying these people, they often are extremely charismatic and won’t always reveal their true motives, until after marriage and or children, when they know it’s harder for you to escape. Once you can forgive yourself and see the pattern or red flag behaviors it will be easier for you to spot this in new people and break the cycle.
2. Understand that even though for many years you were probably emotionally abused and made to feel not worthy or enough, you are and always were enough, this projection on you is nothing about your worth and always everything about your ex’s tactics to control and hurt you. Your reaction to them would have been their drug of choice for many years, and this dynamic must be broken once and for all.
3. Let go of the fact that many people around your ex will probably buy into their dramatic victim playing, you may feel anger towards, your ex’s friends, family or work colleagues who have bought into the narcissist or psychopaths award winning dramatic acts, over the course of the divorce. Let this anger go, remember those people are now no longer a part of your life as your ex shouldn’t be, don’t blame them, as they can only see the side they have been shown by your ex. Anger is always a wasted and draining emotion you owe it to yourself to let it go.
4. Spend some time analyzing the true dynamics of what your relationship and marriage were, often in these abusive relationships we are so bam boozled by the gaslighting, playing victim, and emotional abuse inflicted we can’t see the wood for the trees. Once we have divorced and exited these relationships, it will take a while for you to begin to see things exactly how they are. If you are looking for clarification, there are a lot of great articles about narcissists and psychopaths on the internet, that will explain in more detail their behaviors and relationship dynamics, once you really understand what you are dealing with things seem clearer.
5. Seek support, whether on dreamsrecycled or join our Facebook group or any one of many online support groups, understand you are not alone, when you connect with other people who have been through or have recovered from these relationships you feel a lot less isolated and making new friends after a divorce is always an important part of moving on.
6. The top 1 thing everyone after divorce from a narcissist or psychopathy needs to do is disengage. I cannot stress how important this is, disengage fully and forever. These people are not fixable, and will never change. Expect at first the antisocial behaviors to escalate, but whatever they do to get a reaction do not fall for it. Stand firm in your disengagement, three-word text response only for child coordination, no emotion, no aggression, no anything, whatever you feel good bad or otherwise, never let them see your reaction. Eventually the abusive ex will start to look and then sadly find a new target/victim to emotionally feed off.
7. Lastly and in my mind most importantly work on yourself and self-love, your psyche and ego will often be shattered by this type of ex, the stronger we make our selves the less our ex will be able to hurt us, and the stronger and happier we will be in ourselves. Daily positive action, whether, in work, health, or goals gets us to this better place quicker. Throw in a huge heap of daily positive affirmation, and you will feel much more like your old self quicker.
The process of healing and moving on from any divorce won’t be easy, an abusive relationship, will be even harder, but rest assure you leaving these abusive unions, is a huge victory for you, and you should be applauded for having the courage to stand up and say enough is enough. Once you realize that in that act alone you have already won, the possibility to create a happy new life are endless. Having the strength to leave makes you unstoppable, so go out and create the best life you can, you may not feel like it at this moment but you are already halfway there.